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Texas Education Agency investigating Carroll elementary school

SOUTHLAKE -- The Texas Education Agency is investigating concerns over testing procedures and violations of special education law at a Carroll school district elementary school, and the inquiry is likely to take months, an agency spokeswoman said.

Carroll administrators and their attorney flew to Austin on Wednesday and submitted the final report of findings from their own investigation at a two-hour meeting with state officials. District officials declined to release the final report to the Star-Telegram.

A 15-point preliminary report by the district's law firm, which was released Friday, found testing-procedure violations, misuse of restraining holds on children and a hostile work environment at Old Union Elementary School.

Principal Andra Barton, who resigned in the face of termination proceedings, has done nothing wrong, her lawyer has said. Austin attorney Kevin Lungwitz, who is representing Barton, did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment.

"We will take what they've (Carroll administrators) turned over to us and begin to look through it," said Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, communications director of the Texas Education Agency. "We really appreciate them taking the situation seriously and the immediate and thorough investigation that the Carroll officials have done."

The state's investigation will require involvement of several divisions at the state education agency, Ratcliffe said.

"It's likely to take months. That's not a negative reflection on them. We are likely to have questions and (request) additional information," she said.

Ratcliffe declined to discuss the findings in the report or identify the divisions that would be involved in the state investigation.

Carroll spokeswoman Julie Thannum said the district did not release the final report because it includes details that are confidential under state and federal law.

Wednesday's meeting in Austin included representatives from TEA's special education division, legal division, student assessment division and Ratcliffe.

Representing Carroll were Thannum, Carroll Superintendent David Faltys, school board president Erin Shoupp and the district's lawyer, Rhonda Crass.

"We are basically waiting to hear back from TEA as far as next steps," Thannum said.

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